Sunday, March 15, 2009

After the New England Snow...

The Daffodils an Essay

Two ill-mannered teenagers didn’t realize the heartache they would cause. To them it was a game; snap the stems and hold the bouquet.

To the gardener who has been waiting through the sunless days of winter for the appearance of the first leaves and watching each day as they continue to grow…this simple, selfish action is disheartening.

The woman parked in my driveway, got out of her car and chased two girls through a backyard. A few moments later she came back, breathing heavily from running after the two girls. She was near tears and so angry. All the while, she apologized for using my driveway to park. She explained that the two girls had walked up to her doorstep and picked all of her daffodils. To some it may seem ridiculous to get upset about such a thing but I knew exactly how she felt, for any gardener would feel the same way.

After the cold gray days of winter, everyone looks forward to the beginning of spring. But to the gardener- this is a time of renewal. The emergence of green leaves from the little bulbs that were planted the previous fall is a time of excitement. Not many people look forward to planting bulbs, but the promise of beautiful blooms in the spring push us forward. So each fall we dig, in the earth that has begun to harden with the cooler temperatures. On our hands and knees, we prepare the soil, check the bulbs to make sure they are healthy, add some bulb food and refill the hole. As an extra precaution some go as far as sprinkling cayenne pepper on the patted down soil, in hopes that the squirrels will not dine on the bulbs…our future flowers. After mulching for winter protection, in essence, putting the garden to bed until spring, the wait begins.

Through the holidays not much thought is given to the garden but once the dull grayness of January descends upon us, and the bulb catalogs begin to arrive in the mail, the gardener’s mind begins to wander- to the bright, cheery days of spring.

At last, sometimes as early as mid March, the green of spring pokes through the ground. A daily inspection of the garden begins. In late March when the buds begin to form, the gardener cannot help but smile while passing by. By early April the first of several long awaited daffodils is in full bloom. This sight gives the gardener a renewed energy; thoughts form on the garden plan for the coming months. One after another, the buds open up to the sun and display their magical beauty.

One day, years from now, one of those girls may develop a love of gardening. If she remembers this incident, she may feel a tinge of regret, and only then will she understand how the woman felt that day in my driveway.

To some gardening is a chore, to others it is a profession, and to the faithful gardener it is therapeutic. Even after this incident, peace and solace will surely surround this woman in her garden. ~April 2000

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